Tuesday, October 8, 2019
APFA Government Affairs – Update on the 10-hour Rest Rule
When Congress passed the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act (H.R 302), it included a provision mandating a minimum 10-hour rest for Flight Attendants. Congress intended it to be self-enacting or, in other words, to immediately implement what appeared to be the clear and simple rule.
Why the Delay?
The DOT/FAA ignored the wishes of Congress and embarked on a lengthy and, in our opinion, unnecessary rulemaking process. They determined it was necessary to have an Advanced Notice of Rulemaking (ANPRM) that requires a cost-benefit analysis, which adds many months to actual implementation.
So Where Are We Now?
American Airlines has begun to build trips with greater than 10 hours layover rest for Flight Attendants. This is a good first step on their part, however, it is important to note that they have not implemented the critical “nonreducible” clause in the bill. When the 10 hours becomes law then the contractual pay protections of JCBA Section 10.J will apply when your rest between trips results in less than 10 hours.
The FAR Part 121.467 defines rest as “free from all restraint or duty,” meaning that FAR rest is calculated from debrief to sign in. However, when working a trip with a short 10-hour layover, it is important we know that we also have contractual minimum rest, or what we call “8 hours behind the door.” Whether experiencing a delay in deplaning, waiting for the van or getting a room at the hotel, “8 hours behind the door” is an important contractual protection that ensures that no matter what, you have 8 uninterrupted hours in your hotel room.
We need the 10-hour rest FAR implemented into law so that we can guarantee that trips will continue to be built with a minimum 10-hour rest, so that the 10 hours cannot be reduced in actual operations for any reason, and so that Flight Attendants are pay protected if actual operations result in less than 10 hours between trips.
Public comment is a central part of the rulemaking process and the DOT/FAA has invited your comments.
We are all eager to see the 10-hour rule fully implemented, and as crewmembers your comments are important. Science tells us that when we are fatigued there is a degradation of mental and physical performance. Safety should never be compromised.
Follow this link to read comments and let them know why this rule needs to be implemented on an expedited basis.
Strength in our Collective Voices
APFA has long raised the issue that there are many factors that contribute to fatigue that extend beyond minimum rest time. While APFA was excluded from participating in writing the language, we of course supported any effort that would result in more rest for all flight attendants. It was also important for APFA to support our sister unions in their efforts.
APFA National President Bassani has called a meeting of the Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions. In the past, our combined collective voices joined to get OSHA protections, keep knives off planes, ban voice calls on our aircraft, to name just a few. The 10-hour rule is a top priority on the agenda along with other important issues for our members.
In Unity and Solidarity!
APFA Government Affairs